Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pinball wizard

Sometimes I feel like the ball in a pinball machine. I'm sure we all do - whatever our job or calling.

An email sends us in one direction, a phone call in another, a friend sharing a grief over a drink in a fresh direction.

Each of these comes while we are already moving between booked commitments, the diary driving our movement through the day, the week - a meeting here, a time of preparation or writing there.

And each comes with its own urgency, demanding attention at the cost of everything else.

And God says 'stop'. In the midst of the rush and tear, the perpetual movement, his voice urges us to 'be still and know that I am God'.

But how can a pinball be still?

As I walked to get the papers this morning, having read the latest crop of emails, some words of T S Eliot came into my mind. They capture the feeling and possibly a way of staying sane, being still in the midst of movement:

'At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor
neither from towards; at the still point, there the dance
but neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
where the past and future are gathered. Neither movement
from nor towards,
neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still
there would be no dance, and there is only the dance...'
[Burnt Norton from Four Quartets].

It is the dance that's all, of course; not jigging alone beneath the mirrorball but flowing gracefully through events with our partner in whose arms we are still, unrushed, quiet, at rest...

'By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,' says Eliot.

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